“We are both passionate about engaging in dialogues about art and realised there’s a lack of access to studios in London, resources and information for early career artists.”
Interview by: Natalia Gonzalez Martin
Our interview with the London based art residency PLOP: founded by the artist Oli Epp and co hosted by art critic and curator Aindrea Emelife.
Could you tell us a bit about yourselves and your background? Where did you study?
Aindrea: I studied my BA History of Art at the Courtauld Institute of Art, London after studying the subject at school. I started as an arts writer and this organically developed into curating - which I do under my curatorial platform Aindrea Contemporary. I put on exhibitions focusing on early career talent throughout the year. In addition, I am a patron of Matt’s Gallery and Serpentine Gallery as part of my ongoing interest in supporting art and artists creating today.
Oli: I graduated from City and Guilds of London Art School, in 2017. Since then I’ve been painting full time and have been working closely with galleries in LA, Paris and London with some exciting solo and group shows coming up in 2020!
PLOP Residency offers a great opportunity for emerging artists, by eliminating fees and making it exclusive to five artists at a time - you offer an intense and tailored opportunity, what do you expect from the participating artists?
What makes us unique is that we are one of the very few artists residencies in London that are free to enter and open to all. The application process is easy and it’s all about simplicity and clarity. As creatives we know applications can be daunting and so we wanted to create something that is fun, simple and unpretentious. One of the key features we look for in the artists is great work and dedication to the programme. Between us both we create a great itinerary with pizza nights, studio visits and private view hopping - to date, every artist has got stuck in.
How was the residency born?
PLOP was born through love. Oli founded the residency in 2018 before and upon meeting Aindrea they formed a strong friendship. Aindrea connected Oli to one of her contacts and after a sunny afternoon in 2018 the idea of PLOP was born. Our patrons are art lovers and have always wanted to do something to support up and coming artists but they didn’t know how. Now, together, it has been the perfect synergy of hardwork and sharing.
This residency has generously been made possible thanks to Warren Todd of the Portobello Group and an anonymous supporter.
How has your background affected the decision process behind the residency? How do you think your first-hand experiences in the art world have influenced the residency?
It’s not really about the past but the future. In particular we wanted to create an opportunity that we wished was available to us after graduating. Thanks to the support of a handful of individuals who believe in us and our ideas we have been able to support a large artists and peers. We are both passionate about engaging in dialogues about art and realised there’s a lack of access to studios in London, resources and information for early career artists. We hope future residents will benefit from PLOP and tailor what we provide to engage into the art community here in London. We gain so much from having the residents on board and having exposure to artists from different background. We’ve enjoyed the conversations, debate and insight from the residents and ideas that have been born out of these interactions.
Tell us a bit about how you spend your daily routine? What is your workplace like?
We are always in conversation - whether its about PLOP, art we love, or silly things. We have taken over Mother Tankstation's previous gallery space at Koppel Project Hive which is on the same floor as Oli’s studio so he’s always popping in to say Hi and see how things are going. The work space is large, on the fourth floor of the Studio building and has great light and clean walls...
We are both in constant dialogue with each other and are interested in making this the best residency we can and something work dedicating time and love to.
What is the selection process like?
We had an overwhelming number of entries - so many that we ended up taking on bigger studios to accomodate for more artists per month. It’s a lot of work but very rewarding. The selection panel and us go through all the amazing entries (sushi and wine included) and it makes for an interesting, enlightening, and diverse discussion. It’s very fulfilling and we enjoy reading the artist’s proposals.
You have a great varied team of advisors, tutors and selection panel, what were you looking for in these people and what do they bring to the residency?
We have a powerful and knowledgeable panel of advisors who are a part of the selection process and have been mentoring us and overseeing the programme. One of our panellists Marcelle Joseph is dedicated to the visibility of women and is a curator, collector and philanthropist so we are delighted to have her input. Jeremy Levison, a divorce lawyer in London, has given us invaluable insight behind the scenes and has a fabulous art collection including Rose Wylie and Lynette Yiadom Boakye. Claus Busch Risvig is a collector and supporter of emerging art and has given us great visibility in Europe and more.
How did you come up with the name for the residency?
PLOP was devised as a jestful take on the word ‘POP’. It also symbolised the idea of being a ‘drop in the ocean’. We hope residents come to the residency and make a splash on the London art scene. We wanted a humorous, playful and unpretentious alternative - also PLOP is the highest scoring scrabble word using the letters from ‘Oli Epp’...
What range of artists has the residency attracted?
From the beginning we believed it was important to attract artists of all backgrounds. At PLOP, we promote diversity and inclusivity. We make an active effort to incorporate artists of different viewpoints and curate each month to ensure interaction is valuable, challenging and interesting between those participating. We are constantly pushing to help create visibility for all especially those who are minorities, including BAME, Queer and early career artists. So far, we’ve had artists from all continents and of varying ages, whether fresh out of art school or more mature in their journey.
What have the artists gotten out of it?
Each artist gets a 15m2 studio in Chancery Lane; the heart of London and an hour tutorial with Danny Lamb (curator and founder of @painterspaintingpaintings) and Rosalind Davis (artist, curator and author of ‘What They Didn’t Teach You In Art School). We connect the artists with our network of artists, curators, gallerists.
Who has participated in the residency so far?
This year, we have welcomed sixteen artists including: Isaac Mann (USA), Georgina Clapham (Scotland), Dan Fig (USA), Ferg Cooper (UK), Rosie McGinn (UK), Nour Jaouda (Egypt), Aranzazu Moena (Chile), Anthony White (USA), Marie Boone (USA), Irmak Canevi (Turkey), Christian Berman + Maria Adesman (USA), Alice Jacobs (UK), Hunter Potter (USA), Audrey Matt Aubert (France), Cathrin Hoffman (Germany). Check out our website www.plop-residency.com as applications are now open for Autumn.
Is there anything new and exciting in the pipeline you would like to tell us about?
Applications are now open for our Summer/Autumn Launch - the deadline for applications is July 1st. We are also discussing the idea of setting up overseas - a PLOP ‘Pop Up’ - but as we are both working professionals we are taking things one step at a time.
Publish date: 13/06/2019
All images courtsey of PLOP